PRESIDENT DUTERTE with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol at the launching of the book “Feeding Millions.”
QUEZON CITY — As President Rodrigo Duterte readies for his first official trip to China on October 18 to 21, the Department of Agriculture (DA) disclosed China’s plan to increase the volume of fruit, fish and fishery product imports from the Philippines to boost the country’s agriculture.
This, after the Chinese government announced that it would lift the suspension imposed on Filipino companies exporting bananas and pineapple to the country.
“The lifting of the ban on banana and pineapple exports will come as a big relief to the agriculture sector which registered a negative performance of .4 percent in the first quarter of 2016,” said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
China had imposed tighter quarantines on Philippine bananas since a tense naval standoff at the Scarborough Shoal in 2012. Thousands of tons of the fruit were impounded and eventually destroyed in Chinese ports.China is one of the biggest markets for Philippine bananas. In 2011, before the Scarborough standoff, it imported 300,000 tons of bananas worth $60 million, according to data from the Bureau of Plant Industry.
Piñol said the “suspension” was lifted for banana exporters Sumifru, Banana Brothers, Inc., Evita Banana Trading Company, Inc., Nader and Ibrahim S/O Hassan Phils., Inc., Tagum Agricultural Development Trade Co., Inc., TVEM Links International Co., Stanfilco Division of DOLE Philippines, Inc., Phil pack, Continental Farm Corp., and Lapanday Diversified Products Corp.
During his recent courtesy call at the DA, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua indicated his country’s intent to increase the volume of bananas, pineapples and other agricultural products that it is importing from the Philippines.
Piñol said China would also be opening up its market to other high value commercial crops like mangoes, coconut and dragon fruit, high-end fisheries products such as Lapu-Lapu, crabs, shrimps, prawns and tuna and bangus.
“Philippine agriculture products would soon be sold in major cities in China, a move which is expected to boost the growth of Philippine agriculture,” he added.
In Davao City, President Duterte said is optimistic that the country’s agriculture sector would make it big in the global market.
President Duterte was the guest of honor lst Friday at the National Banana Congress held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
“It’s a highly competitive world today and everybody is into the business of money and that is why there is a lot of competition going on,” he said.
“Maybe, just maybe, the Philippines will make it big in the agricultural area,” he said, noting that within the next 30 years, it will be a very tight competition in the new industrial sector.
President Duterte said Mindanao will be the country’s topmost source of agricultural goods.
At the event, the President also assured the banana growers that his administration is exerting efforts to address law and order in the country.
He said if law and order prevails, it would greatly benefit the banana growers.
“The greatest problem of banana growers in the Philippines for that matter is really law and order,” the President said.
He also noted that his administration is now talking to the Communist Party of the Philippines, as well as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Meanwhile, President Duterte called on the Filipino people to help his administration ferret out corruption by reporting erring government officials and employees.
“Pag ‘di niyo ako tulungan wala talaga akong magawa para sa inyo. (If you do not help me, there is nothing I can do for you.) If you do not help me ferret out the bad guys, di ‘wag kayong mag-complain ng corruption (then do not complain of corruption),” he said.